Tuesday, October 11, 2016

I feel as though the storm clouds have lifted a little bit today.

First, I have TMJ, which really sucks. My face really hurts. I can't wait to see my massage therapist on Thursday and have him work my upper back, neck, head, and face. He'll get in there, too, and straighten all that mess out. I went to the doctor (not just for the depression) in part because I thought I had a double ear infection. Nope. TMJ. The physical pain, however, is almost a welcome distraction from the psychological pain right now. My doctor and I both feel that this is a symptom of the depression and anxiety from which I am currently suffering. He gave me steroids and valium, so that should be interesting. The valium certainly helped me sleep last night and helped me to relax my face and my jaw. And it took the edge off the anxiety a bit, so I'm feeling better this morning than yesterday. Yesterday actually quite frightened me.

We also changed my antidepressants. Though I know they cannot work as fast as one morning, by the time I got home last night from the doctor, I felt infinitely better because I knew that there was at least a new plan in place that was going to help me, and for the first time I felt a bit motivated to do things, and I was more pleasant around the kid and was able to be more present around her. Plus, I also think this morning the valium still in my system has taken some of the edge off of my anxiety, and I can focus a  bit more today and just feel like there is some hope, like I might be able to get back to a point where I can thrive rather than just function? We'll see. Hopefully I can get some more work done the rest of the morning in my office and that should help my mood, too.

Having a prescription for valium though makes me feel like a bored bourgeois housewife from the 80s.

Monday, October 10, 2016

I had a bad weekend. I am headed to the doctor this afternoon.

My depression, which seemed to have been under control last spring, and the beginning of the summer, has resurfaced (as I mentioned I think in my last post). I am overwhelmed with uncontrollable sadness. I am also overwhelmed with apathy, and this is the thing which concerns me the most. I am functioning in as much as I shower and go to work. I am not doing my job particularly well. It is a struggle for me to be in any way prepared for the 400 level class. My energy in my survey classes has tanked. I am not even making the slow progress I was 4 weeks ago on the giant project due in three weeks. 

I cannot focus. I cooked for the first time this weekend in like six weeks? Mostly my mom cooks, but I at least go to the grocery and give her the menu, and this has not been the case in the last month. We've been eating out a lot, or she's been eating tuna salads and stuff. The kid eats hot dogs and sweet potato fries and broccoli. So I am not even doing a very good job in taking care of her. Fortunately, others are around to pick up the slack. I go to functions without make up (which is a sign of apathy for me--I just don't have the energy to take the extra five minutes). I cannot work at night because every single ounce of energy I have goes toward holding myself together for the day.

I am concerned because I don't care if I flake out on this chapter, even though it would be like the biggest betrayal of friendship and mentorship and professional decorum I could think of, and a huge slap in the face, stab in the back, and whatever awful cliche of betrayal you can come up with toward the editor. Generally, wanting to not disappoint this person is motivation enough to get my ass in gear, but I cannot even bring myself to deal with what I need to. I cannot care about anything, let alone myself. 

I cannot deal with stress, major or minor. This morning, I was not going to make it to work as early as I wanted to. I had a complete fucking meltdown in front of the kid who understood the heaviness of my sigh and the immediate headache that formed between my eyes, and she started crying a cry of fright and insecurity and fear of the unknown and I had to hold her all throughout her breakfast to reassure her. I am hurting her with my depression and anxiety, and I cannot have that. I cannot do that to her and the J. He feels the weight of it, too, but is too aware that telling me that I am hurting him will do me more harm than good. Hopefully there is some relief on the horizon this afternoon. 

Wish me luck.

Friday, October 7, 2016

I have a super annoying student, and I have to vent somewhere about it.

The gist of the issue is that said student is an English major and therefore thinks ze is entitled to an A simply because ze is an English major, and that the roadblock in hir writing is not that hir writing needs improvement, but that it's my fault because "every other professor says X is acceptable and I'm the only one asking for Y instead of X, and I'm unreasonable for not accepting X for Y."

If you're an English major, and as good as you think you are, you should a) know the difference between an arguable thesis statement and just a plain statement about the text, and b) know the difference between plot summary and analysis, c) and understand that to simply write your opinion about the text and state it as a claim and not back it up with either appropriate support and analysis of that claim is not analysis at all. If you believe the problem with your writing is because I haven't told you exactly what to think, therefore the grade is my fault because I should have told you exactly what to write, then we are going to have some problems.

Try spending less time writing what you think I want to hear and spend more time actually constructing some sort of argument and supporting it appropriately.

Also, this assignment is 2-3 pages long. If you're as good an English major as you say you are, and as great a writer as you think, you should be able to knock out two pages in your sleep.
Ugh. Today is just one of those days, I think?

I'm depressed. Like super depressed. Like the level of depression I felt this time last year. I do not feel like the anti-depressants are working anymore. It's affecting my ability to get through this project that I must do. I'm not taking very good care of myself at all, either. I'm functioning enough that I show up at my job, I bathe, I do the work I need to to teach, but aside from cuddling with the kid, my mom is pretty much doing everything right now--bathing, school, lunches, etc. I just do not feel like doing anything. I've been sleeping through alarms. Ugh. In short, I do not want to face reality. At all.

I think my poor diet right now is contributing a little bit to this. I cannot seem to gain control here of anything.

I'm frustrated. I hate feeling like this.

Now that a lot of the stress has been eliminated regarding the house (except hopefully a few minor things), there's still this large financial stress looming at the moment, but the stress either triggered a massive downturn in my depression, or it masked it, or both because now I just feel so meh. The energy I have goes toward basic functioning, and that's it.

I have everything to be happy about right now. But I cannot find any joy at all.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016


My request for a one year extension for tenure has been granted!!

This is significant not just for me, but for others as well because I am the first one to try to use this new policy, so I have set the precedent here for others. This doesn't quite make up for all the shit I had to go through last year, but it at least gives me more of a fighting chance.

Because that piece of stress has been eliminated, and that mine and my family's life does not hang in the balance anymore and I won't spend the next 8 months filled with anxiety, I can breathe and get to work now. I can focus on the tasks at hand. I feel much more hopeful now that I'll actually not flake the eff out on this book chapter. Perhaps some of this will rub off on the Magpie and she'll feel less stress, too.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

In the depths

I just sort of feel like my life is falling apart right now.

I am completely overwhelmed by the project on which I'm currently working (and for which I've already gotten a month extension) because I am foolishly trying to cram a year's worth of work into about six weeks. Or I guess rather had I begun chipping away at the project when it fell into my lap, I'd be done already. I finished the other one. The editor hated my idea, seriously, and to be honest, it wasn't that great anyway, but he really hated the idea, so that required some major revisions which meant time away from big project because he wanted them in two weeks. I got them done in a week, and I have no idea if they are good enough yet, so that has me on edge. Also, under our new university policy, because the Magpie has been ill since birth, and then ill again this summer (that e.coli really fucked things up for me this summer--she's fine, I didn't mean to sound as horrible as I did because obviously her health comes first), which is the primary reason that this stuff isn't done yet as it should have been, I can apply for a year extension for tenure. So, I would go up next year. Except... 1) No one has applied for this before, so no one knows what to do, 2) I spent a week working on my letter to go with my request, 3) It's been over a week since I submitted my request and I haven't heard anything yet, and this is a problem because 4) if I get denied, my portfolio is due by 10/3. But since I have this huge awful project looming, I don't want to devote hours of research and writing time to the tenure portfolio if I don't have to. I've got my stuff all gathered, it's the writing for it that's not been done, and if I have to, I can knock it out in a weekend, but the portfolio is going to look rushed, and I'd rather it not. I've been told at the department level, I'm fine. At the college level, probably not because not all my stuff is in print and letters from the editors for the forthcoming stuff probably won't be good enough, which I think it bullshit, but whatever.

In the meantime, like this week, I have my sister's baby shower out of town, and then we move Sunday, and we're spending this week trying to get as much packed as we can. I'm more worried about tenure than I would be if we weren't buying a house. It was too good of an offer to pass up, especially if we are staying, and the house would not have been around for a month, let alone a whole year. On top of all of this, my very heightened stressed out state has had an impact on the whole family. The J is on edge, my mom is freaking out (and it does not help me for them to tell me to stop freaking out and to calm down--that just seriously pisses me off more), and then there's Magpie. She was potty trained. We were doing great. Now? Complete regression. She has decided that she is not going to be potty trained any more. We've talked to the pediatrician about it and her daycare, and we are trying our best (I'm not sure that the daycare even believes that she was actually potty trained), but there we are. We all understand that this is her way of coping with the stress. She has made a decision not to use the toilet. And she wants the comfort of babyhood because she's stressed out, too.

In short, I feel like my incompetence in my work is destroying my family. I know in part that the mere act of being in the new house on Sunday is going to make a difference simply because there is 600 sq. feet more of breathing space and a giant fenced in outdoor space, so I'm hopefully just the lack of crowding will make a difference.

I meditate every day, too, to help with this. I can tell it's helping, but still.

Until that letter comes back and I know how to focus my energies (on my research or on the appeal, because all hell will break loose, actually if it is denied. The J is ready to go to the mattresses), I feel like I'm drowning. I am going to crash in November, and it will not be pretty.

I just want to scream to the universe. I want the universe to help, to open the heavens and put forth light and warmth on me.

Every fucking day is a struggle. I have no energy for my research right now (though I chip away as I can almost daily) because I feel like all the energy I have is in holding myself together so I can function, so I can teach (though that takes way more energy than I have--I'm using up the reserves here, quick), so I am not a fucking broken down mess at work.

I never never ever want to be in this position again--academically, emotionally, physically, and financially. Ever.

Thanks for listening, y'all.

Friday, September 2, 2016

Full Panic Mode

Our house issue is resolved.

Since the short sale is the hindrance to any kind of legit loan (which took a while to realize, sadly, because neither of us are financially savvy), so the sellers agreed to do a lease to purchase with us so that we have time for the short sale to go away, time to save, and we still get the house, and they do not make two mortgage payments. So for all intents and purposes, we are buying the house. We move this month.

What the fuck am I doing??!! Moving while trying to write a book chapter due at the end of September (which, um, yeah more on that below), tenure portfolio due in October, and since I foolishly perhaps thought that I'd be done with all of this stuff before now, I radically altered a course and am teaching a bunch of new stuff, which in March seemed doable and like a great idea! On top of this, I do not like my hair. Yes, I know, it's hair. Who cares. But if I feel ugly in my hair, then the world crashes around me, my self esteem plummets, and it begins a downward spiral. Fortunately, really for the first time ever, I've identified exactly what it is I do not like and why, and I am not waiting out of fear of hurting the hairdresser's feelings to get it fixed immediately. Unfortunately it will probably cost me, but it's my fault in the first place (he did exactly what I asked him to do, and it's a lovely color and cut but blah, blah, blah). Normally I wait a couple of weeks to see if I'll settle in to it, but I won't this time, and I know why, and rather walk around for two weeks feeling like shit about myself and not getting anything done, I'm fixing it tomorrow. At least I can get it fixed before school starts.

And then there's that. The start of the quarter. Meetings on Tuesday. Classes for me start Friday. Ridiculous.

I have a naive hope that the new house will help me to be more productive. (Although the time I need to be super productive is right now,this month, a mad dash for all the things). Why? There's more space, for one. In theory I should have a place to actually sit and work. Two, our hope is that as we move, we are getting rid of things that we do not need, do not want, have no place in our lives, including the storage unit. Also, the hubs has a storage cage at work that we can use for a while, so we can store stuff there and we have easier access to it to go through stuff and cull our possessions. This is helpful because we are going to start moving stuff today to make room in the house. So maybe perhaps as there is more room in here as we begin the moving process, the more I'll be able to get done because there will be less clutter here.

Because we're not draining our savings on a bad loan, we will be able to hire actual furniture movers this time, so that's wonderful! That is going to be the best thing ever!! So when it is time to move, that will make moving day go so much faster and less stressful on us.

Anyway, there's the haps y'all. Have a great weekend!